Re: AGI funding (was Re: Some bad news)

From: Slawomir Paliwoda (
Date: Sat Nov 09 2002 - 16:33:00 MST

> A single article has ephemeral impact, which you can either exploit
> or not. But a systematic PR campaign with successful media effects, can
> build a whole movement, and get hundreds of millions of dollars moving in
> appropriate directions.
> That's human reality, which is what we have to deal with -- for the moment
> ;)

My point exactly. A will to attempt a systematic PR campaign is a will to
acknowledge the reality, and make the best of it. Of course, it would be
nice if some rich investor just stumbled on SIAI's website, read all the
articles, and donated 20M for the FAI research, but that's so unlikely to
happen, it should be considered impossible. This is the kind of mentality
that expects the audience to do all the work at figuring out what's it all
about, and assumes that if some idea is right it can always stand on its
own, no matter how it is presented. Well, the truth is that even brilliant
ideas, like all ideas, need to be packaged well because otherwise nobody
will care. It is perhaps easier or more convenient to rely entirely on luck
and on the strength of the ideas but this usually leads to disappointing
results. One needs to create his own luck, and a clever PR campaign is just

This is not the world where the best ideas or products win automatically.
The ideas and products with best or heaviest promotion usually do. In fact,
the success depends on both the idea and the right promotion. Political
arena and entertainment industry are just few examples of where this is
true. Sad, but true.

> So, if anyone on this list knows any good PR agents who'd like to
> on ways to publicize the Singularity, please let me know ;)

I believe I already suggested how one should go about increasing the
awareness of AGI research or Singularity among potential donors. You locate
the right media targets (specific magazines, newspapers, radio and TV shows,
internet sites) and then basically suggest them a story they would be
interested in. You contact them and say or write something like:

 "I have a great suggestion for a story for you about a growing field of
research that very few people know about, concerned with building
artificial, self-enhancing, minds that could very soon be smarter than

Note how short this line is (their time is precious too so you better not
waste it), then how it refers to AGI "field" and not to the your specific
research, since it gives your ideas more credibility and that you're not
alone in your endeavor (as oppose to the some crazy scientist working alone
in the basement). Note also how it goes right to the point and how that
point is presented with terms that everybody could understand. But most of
all note how it is concerned with what you have to offer to the potential
story writer, not what you want from the writer. It's their job to find a
good story that people would enjoy reading so assume that it your job to do
their job. If you make it already attractive-- which is very important or
even crucial--and easy for them to write it, they will be more willing to
help you too. Who knows, you could even establish some relationship that
will result with some more stories in the future.

And that's the basic approach to the PR campaign, since it applies to all

But I would prefer not to use "PR campaign" term since it implies some huge,
complicated or even expensive task that would necessarily interfere with the
work on AGI. This is not so scary or time consuming or that it requires
professional PR agents. In fact this all could be done very cheaply and
efficiently with minimal effort. The benefits, though, could be enormous.


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